“Machete Don’t Text.”

I’m not sure how I failed to see this one in theaters. I was hugely excited about this movie, but somehow I just didn’t get down to the theaters before it had disappeared. And, in fact, I only got around to watching Machete a couple of nights ago. Bad, bad Carlie. The 1/4 Mexican in you is entirely ashamed. (Add this to the fact that you don’t even like guacamole, and your ancestors are probably rolling over in their graves. Of course, the German ones must be even more upset. No beer or sauerkraut? I’m a lousy descendant, culinarily speaking.)

Anyway. Machete is my very first Mexploitation film, and, ultimately, it’s a lot of fun.

Summary:

Machete knows the score. He gets the women. And he kills the bad guys.

Yeah, I think that works.

Notes:

1. You still want a better summary? Well, the best one I could give you is the trailer itself. Two trailers, actually. For those of you who aren’t big Grindhouse fans, Machete wasn’t originally conceived of as an actual movie. It actually began life as a fake trailer that preceded Robert Rodriguez’s real film Planet Terror.

The original trailer is here:

Then Mr. Rodriguez was like, “Well, why not make this into a real movie? Cause, you know, it’s awesome.”

And so they made this real trailer for the real film that I’m reviewing now:

If neither of these trailers looks awesome to you . . . you aren’t going to like this movie. Seriously, you’re just not. Some movies have bizarre promotional campaigns, say, trailers that advertise a gross-out, funny, summer comedy and then actually produce an intelligent, indie, coming-of-age drama. (You know who you are.) Machete isn’t like that. The trailer tells you all you need to know. If you don’t like ridiculous decapitations, boobs, gun-toting priests, or Mexicans, you will not like this movie.

2. If you did like the trailers, though . . . introducing Don Johnson. Love it!

3. Machete’s not the easiest movie in the world to grade because . . . well . . . what do you compare it against? It’s not like it’s trying for realism. It’s not aiming to change the minds and hearts of millions of young Americans. It’s just a fun, silly, gory time.

I can say that, after watching Machete, I didn’t have any urge to stand on the roof of my apartment complex with a sword over my head, not the way I desperately wanted to headbutt someone into coins after watching Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. So . . . maybe not an A, then?

Seriously, I did have a few problems with this film. I didn’t love it. I probably won’t be quoting it to random strangers in ten years. (Well, maybe just one line.) But Machete was enjoyable. I liked a lot of the dialogue, and I had fun watching Danny Trejo kill a ludicrous amount of people in a short period of time. So, there’s that to consider too.

4. One of the problems I did have was Lindsay Lohan. It’s not that she’s so horrible—I’m trying not to jump on the ‘Let’s dump on Lindsay Lohan’ train because, frankly, I just don’t care enough about her to bother—but she’s not particularly interesting, either. She’s just there. If Robert Rodriguez had cut her out of the movie entirely, I don’t think anyone would have noticed.

5. On the other hand, I did like Jessica Alba in this movie, and I haven’t really cared for her since . . . when? Dark Angel? I’m not saying that Rivera was an especially hard role or anything, but Alba did have a couple of moments that I liked—the check the panties bit was particularly funny—and I didn’t want to slap her across the face while watching the film, which, frankly, is more than can be said for Fantastic Four. So that was a nice surprise.

6. And actually, with the exception of Miss Lohan, the entire cast is great. I’m still waiting to see Michelle Rodriguez do anything other than Tough Girl, but at least her character here didn’t have as big of a chip on her shoulder as usual. (Although, to Rodriguez’s credit, she usually manages to be both bitchy and tough instead of just plain bitchy. Moviemakers seem to think that if you put a skinny chick in a pair of leather pants and have her shrewishly snipe at people {while occasionally pouting at something in the distance} then she’s somehow a badass instead of just a bitchy tramp that no one really wants to talk to because she’s mean. I may wish that Michelle Rodriguez would pick a role that showed some kind of vulnerability, but by God, when she hits someone, I believe that she could hurt them, and that’s better than nothing.)

Anyway, I like pretty much everyone—Robert De Niro, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo, even Steven Seagal—but there is one standout in this cast, and that standout is Jeff Fahey. Man, I love this guy. Everything he does seems effortless. Hell, maybe it is, I don’t know. All I know is, he’s awesome, and I bow down before his awesome might.

7. Some quotes that made me laugh:

Padre Benito del Toro: “I absolve you of all your sins. Now get the fuck out.”

Bodyguard (after letting Machete pass through): “You ever noticed how you let a Mexican into your house just because he’s got gardening tools? No questions asked, you just let him right in. Could have a chainsaw, you know, a machete . . .”

Booth: “He’s coming for us.”
Osiris: “Nooooo, he’s coming for you.”

Von’s Henchman: “Habla Ingles?”
Luz: “Depends on the question.”

Sniper’s Henchman: “Boss ain’t going to like this. What are we going to tell him?”
Sniper: “. . . Oops.”

Booth: “Machete just sent me a text.”
Osiris: “What did it say?”
Booth: “You just fucked with the wrong Mexican.”

8. In related news, I still want a T-shirt that says, “You just fucked with the wrong Mexican.”

9. Finally, I know that Machete gets the women. I know that, but see, Machete is also 66 years old. Michelle Rodriguez, on the other hand, is 30 years old. Jessica Alba is 29 years old, and Lindsay Lohan is 24 years old. I don’t usually mind an age difference in cinematic romances, but forty years seems a little . . . squick . . . for my tastes, thanks.

Conclusions:

All in all, I think that if you like exploitation films, you’ll probably like this one. I don’t know that it’s the very best example of the genre or anything, but it’s definitely enjoyable . . . and probably a little more socially relevant than, say, Blacula. (Yes, this is a movie. Yes, I watched it. Homework, believe it or not. Frankly, I was disappointed.)

Now, I will move on to a very short spoiler section, just so I can discuss two things, one that was very, very good, and one that was not so good.

SPOILERS

SPOILERS

SPOILERS

SPOILERS

First, Tom Savini and Michelle Rodriguez make it in this movie! Yay! Neither of these two have great track records when it comes to their characters making it to the end of their respective movie/TV show alive. This is doubly awesome with Tom Savini, since he plays a bad guy in Machete. (There’s probably some deleted scene or credits scene where he gets killed, but I didn’t see it and am thus not counting it as cannon. It’s too awesome that he lived, and generally, my rule is if it’s not in the film you gave me, it’s not in the film, period.)

On the downside, Steven Seagal is the Big Bad in this movie, and while it’s cool to see Steven Seagal as a bad guy (has that ever happened in the history of cinema, like, ever?), his death scene at the end is just . . . weird. Weird in a not good way. The whole, I’ll twist the knife in myself and die the way I want to die . . . eh. No likey. No likey at all.

At least Robert De Niro’s death makes up for it. Electric fence! Hee!

Grade:

B

Moral:

Don’t fuck with the wrong Mexican.

(Also, stop blaming every bad thing that happens in this country on illegal immigrants. And racists suck. But mostly, don’t fuck with the wrong Mexican.)

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4 Responses to “Machete Don’t Text.”

  1. Brandon says:

    There is nothing in cinema that is not improved by the phrase “with Steven Seagal”.

  2. Michael says:

    Just to let you know, Savini would have been killed via a saw blade at the chop shop, but I think they took it out for pacing reasons or lessen the run-time. I was a stand in for Daryl Sabara’s character and the sniper, got to see it personally and he screamed really well. A shame they took it out of the film, but in retrospect great he got to not get killed in a film, technically. There would have also been a car chase scene between the militia members and Daryl Sabara, but that was taken out too.

    • That’s awesome! I don’t think it would have bothered me if it had stayed in the film (it sounds like a cool scene), but when I realized that he was still alive at the end of the film, I just thought that was the neatest thing ever. I do tend to root for henchmen, though, and second-string bad guys. They seem to have such a bad lot in life.

      Thanks for sharing : )

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